The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has welcomed the State Government’s announcement of a $143-million targeted business support package to compensate the sectors hardest hit by the recent Covid-19 snap lockdown.
In a statement, the influential business body said it had been calling for this assistance since the emergency lockdown was announced and had made several representations to Government on behalf of its more than 15,000 members.
“While some businesses and sectors will miss out, and the support won’t cover the total economic loss caused by lockdown, it is targeted and reasonably generous,” the organisation stated.
Hospitality venues and hairdresser among the beneficiaries
The package includes an allocation of $92-million for $2,000 grants to hospitality venues (including food wholesale), event operators and specific retail (hairdressers and florists) with a payroll of less than $3-million.
There is also $24.9-million to provide an additional $3,000 per premise to venues that have received a grant under the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund. Recipients of this will not be eligible for the $92-million assistance listed above.
The State Government has also allocated $16.2-million for grants to accommodation providers which experienced cancellations. Those who had 10 bookings or less are to receive $2,250 and those with 11 bookings or more will get $4,500.
Total of 50,000 vouchers to encourage Victorians to travel
In an effort to encourage Victorians to visit greater Melbourne, there is $10-million allotted for 40,000 travel vouchers. There is also an extension of the successful regional travel voucher scheme with an additional 10,000 vouchers.
“[Yesterday’s] announcement will be welcome news for the many businesses impacted by the recent lockdown, particularly those that had to cover the costs of lost perishables, booking cancellations and wages,” said Paul Guerra, Chief Executive of the Victorian Chamber.
“Business looks forward; it doesn’t look back and the best support they can have right now is the ability to trade with certainty and confidence. Quarantine and contact tracing needs to evolve as Covid-19 evolves.
Voucher program ‘music to the ears’ of tourist attractions
“The travel voucher program extension to cover all of Victoria will be music to the ears of CBD hotels and attractions, which are struggling without international and domestic visitors.”
According to the Victorian Government, more than 50,000 businesses will be eligible for cash payments as part of the package targeting industries that were hit by the recent ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown.
The five-day lockdown was introduced on February 12 over concerns that the Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport outbreak could worsen if it wasn’t brought under control quickly.